Years ago when few had web pages I started hosting a we page for the classes I taught. It was pretty basic and I had to manually edit HTML and FTP the new page up to my site when I wanted to change things. It was not the sort of thing every teacher could or would do. Honestly I found it hard to keep current. These days there are many more options for teachers who want to connect with teachers.
Teachers are using wiki pages like those at wikispaces for example. Others are using Ning and creating their own little social networks. Some are opting for simpler things such as blogs on any number of blog hosting sites. You can set up blogs and wikis using Microsoft SharePoint assuming your district has it and is using it as a portal. (Semi-obligatory plug for a Microsoft product that I actually really do like a lot.) And then there are website products designed just for teachers.
Today I received email from Artia Moghbel, Founder of SchoolRack.com which is a free teacher web site for teachers. I asked people about it on Twitter and heard from a couple of people who either use it or know people who do. Those who use it seem to like it a lot. In fact I was told that at one school parents remind teachers to update and are disappointed with teachers who don’t. That suggests that parents really do want to keep up with what is going on in school. I found that having web site that listed projects and topics allowed parents to stay on top of their children better. Usually a good thing.
People also Twittered about a couple of other sites that are being used by teachers. The people at TeacherWeb Twittered to me “Free 30 Day trial at www.TeacherWeb.com -- Blog pages, NewsFlash (txt/email alerts), enhanced text pages, EASY TO USE!!!” Looks pretty impressive although there is a cost to using it long term.
A teacher, Patrick Hibbard (@patpack) Twittered “I use @webnode as a free teacher page. They provide storage, rss... the works. www.patrickhibbard.com” While not strictly for teachers WebNode seems to have a lot of good features.
I’m sure there are other good products out there. Do you have a teacher web page? Or perhaps a blog? What sort of platform are you using and what do you see as the pros and cons of teachers websites? Are you a parent or a student? What do you want to see in a teacher web site?
I use teacherweb. There is a cost ($40) which I consider to be cheap. Considering all the features, including letting parents sign up for updates via text message or email from me, it is worth every penny. I highly recommend.
North Gulfport 7th grade
I have been using Teacherweb since 2001 and love it. There is so much you can do with it!!! At first it was free, then it started charging, but is still worth the investment. Check out my site.
I have been using Teacher Web for over 7 years and it is great, easy to use, lots of options, great support ...more than worth the cost.
I LOVE TeacherWeb!!! Yes there is a small cost but you get what you paid for! I love it!!
No cost to using SchoolRack, and the websites look a bit better in my opinion
Can't wait to use it again in two weeks!
I, too, use TeacherWeb and find it is worth cost. I am happy with how I can present information to my students and parents and can get input/feedback from them as well. A plus is it saves some paper since I don't print everything like I used to.
I use Blogger for a couple of blogs, and have a Plone CMS–based Web site where I document class procedures and such, and I have a section of the file system on the web server that I put sample programs in, and keep updated using rsync on the Mac.
My first teacher website was a list of the week's homework assignments, HTML 'hard-coded' and hosted on my ISP's webspace back in 2000 or 2001. By my last year in the classroom, I was using Wikispaces with my own domain name due to its extreme ease of use (what, no more FTPing?!) and ability to host files (previously I had used the free file hosting service Mediafire).
As far as content, in its last incarnation, my site had a separate page for each class I taught in a given semester (plus however many subpages necessity dictated, all linked from the main class page), a page with my contact info and teaching schedule (including after-school, so kids always knew where to find me), an "About Me" page with a brief bio and picture, a "Cool Links" page, where I'd periodically post links to neat educational apps I came across, and a link to the official school website.
I enjoyed Google pages and now I use Google sites. I like the integration with other Google products and it's free.